climate change post pandemic
The EIB has released more funding aimed at mitigating climate change and making the post-COVID-19 recovery a green one. Image: Pexels.com

The European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday approved $14,9billion of new financing for post-pandemic recovery projects around the world.

The new financing includes more than $3.67 billion of COVID-19 related investment to strengthen public services, improve public health and back investment into companies in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

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Since the COVID-19 crises started, the European Investment Bank has approved $23,8 billion to enable public and private partners around the world to address health, social and economic challenges. The EIB Board, meeting online, agreed to back investment in agriculture, water, housing, telecommunications and urban development across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

President of the EIB Werner Hoyer said fighting climate change and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic had to go hand in hand to achieve a green recovery. Thus, the EIB would ensure this money would be invested in sustainability and innovation efforts and be used to reduce the impact of climate change. “The $14.9billion of new EIB financing approved today shows how we are working with thousands of local partners to make a long-term difference to people’s lives during these challenging times,” said Hoyer.

The bank also approved new targeted post-pandemic financing initiatives schemes in the Baltics, Benelux, Cyprus, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, East Africa, Morocco, the Middle East and the Pacific. The new schemes will be managed by local financial partners and banking intermediaries to reduce economic shocks, unlock new investment and target those sectors most vulnerable to uncertainty induced by the pandemic.

Billions for renewable energy and the energy transition

Of the newly announcement EIB funding, $3,5 billion is meant to support energy investment to reduce energy use and increase the generation of clean energy across the world. $1,8 billion of that will be used to finance small-scale local climate change mitigation projects across the EU. Financing will also be provided to support the construction of new wind farms off the Dutch coast and in Bosnia, improve energy efficiency in Austria and Ukraine, renovate hydropower plants in Georgia, roll out smart meters in Lithuania and modernise electricity networks in Madeira and Hungary.

The EIB will also support new off-grid solar schemes for millions in Africa and Latin America to access reliable clean energy for the first time.

Money for transport

The EIB Board greenlit $2,37 billion to support the construction of a new high-speed train link between Naples and Bari. This will cut journey times by 100 minutes and give passengers travelling between Rome, Naples and Bari a quicker and more environmentally friendly alternative to car transport. It is also the largest loan the EIB has ever approved.

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Part of the Scandinavia-Mediterranean Trans-European Network, the new green transport link project will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and 200 jobs once the high-speed line across a European cohesion region is complete. Rail rolling stock in Italy will also be upgraded.

The Board also agreed to support the upgrading of public transport networks in Sarajevo and Krakow and to improve a key motorway link in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Urban development, social housing and health

Large-scale social housing investment across France and Germany was approved, as was support for the New Slussen urban development project to transform the heart of Swedish capital Stockholm.

On the health side, a new regional hospital will be constructed in Tournai, Belgium and a national scheme to improve mental health facilities across Belgium was also approved. A new scheme to support long-term healthcare investment in French regions, underserved by medical services as so drastically shown during the COVID-19 pandemic, was also agreed.